Carmel High School graduate shares love of Songbook for thesis

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By Mark Ambrogi

La Schiazza

La Schiazza

Renee La Schiazza has developed a deep connection and affection for the Great American Songbook.

La Schiazza, a 2012 Carmel High School graduate, was a 2012 Great Lakes regional finalist in the Songbook Academy competition in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Following her freshman year at Elon (N.C.) University, La Schiazza was an intern with the Great American Songbook Foundation in Carmel.

“I’ve always loved the classics,” La Schiazza said. “Being part of that competition really sparked my interest in the basics and delving into the research and helping the Songbook stay alive.”

Being an intern, which La Schiazza describes as one of her best college experiences, only cemented that feeling.

So it’s fitting that La Schiazza’s senior thesis as an Elon College Fellow is creating a tribute to the Great American Songbook. Her show, “Revue-ing A Century of the Songbook: Who Could Ask for Anything More?” will premiere April 7 to 9 at Elon.

“I decided to research the impact of The Great American Songbook in American culture and why it has stayed so relevant to so many people over the last century,” she said.

La Schiazza said Songbook is the foundation of music theater. La Schiazza auditioned all the students in the department for the production. La Schiazza said her fellows mentor Linda Sabo has provided inspiration for the thesis. La Schiazza has been working on the project for more than three years.

There are 12 musical theater performers in her show, six men and six women. La Schiazza is using a design and production crew.

“It’s completely student run. I have a co-director and choreographer, who is my best friend in my senior class,” La Schiazza said. “It’s a really great process to share with my close friends and colleagues.”

La Schiazza will graduate magnum cum laude with a double major of music theater and arts administration.

“I would love to move to New York City, possibly get a job in arts administration while I audition (for roles),” La Schiazza said. “Primarily I want to perform. Then eventually I want to go back to school to get a degree so I can teach music theatre or use my arts administration degree to lead some type of arts organization.”

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